By Joel Liscio (Co-founder of The Deadlights Writers C0-0p)
Why do you write?
I write because I have to. I have had to write for a long time. I started writing as a hobby in the 7th grade after my English teacher seemed very impressed by a poem I wrote. I wrote the poem “The Room” as part of an assignment and I haven’t stopped writing since then.
Do you consider yourself a poet?
If you had asked me that question a few years ago, my answer would have been no. Not just no but HELL NO! I didn’t feel like I had the talent or intellect to justify the title of poet or writer. As the years rolled by I started sharing my writing. The more I shared, the more confident I felt about my writing. I’m by no means writing haiku’s or sonnets or bestselling novels but I am a writer and I am a Poet.
How do readers respond to how open and honest your writing is?
Of course, I want my writing to inspire people but I also don’t believe I have any authority to say how. The goal for me isn’t even to make the reader feel what I feel. I want them to feel anything at all. If I write a poem about masturbating and the reader feels empathy, then so be it. If I write a short story about Santa Clause and the reader feels disgusted, then so be it. My only fear is evoking no feeling what so ever.
At times, what you write can be very vulgar. Do you think this will change how you are perceived as a writer?
I don’t believe language should be restrictive. I’ll curse if I want to curse and I’ll write so-called vulgar things if I want to. Am I hoping to be controversial? Absolutely not! I just write what and how I want to write. The only person I worry about upsetting is my Mom.
Do you think it’s possible your writing could give people an unfavorable view of you?
What you’re asking me is will people think i’m an asshole, and yes i think there’s a very real possibility of that. i reveal a lot about others and not always in a very kind way. My family will be horrified, people who were co-workers, bosses or my employees will be shocked, ex-girlfriends/lovers might be flattered, embarrassed or completely outraged.
Is it your intention to be shocking.
Like i’ said before, i never set out to be controversial or shocking. i just wanted to be as honest as possible and it turns out honesty is shocking. While is was in the writing process of The Lies That Cause The Cancer i was completely unaware of how what i was writing could make me look. It wasn’t until the editing process that i became aware of how self-absorbed and even misogynistic it could come across. There are definitely lines in the book that still make me cringe and i’ve been living with these words for a few years now.
Why not edit the book to put a better light on you?
i made a conscious decision to respect the words and the moments. Self-editing can be very tricky, there’s a big difference between editing and rewriting. Trust me there was plenty of things i wanted to omit but i knew then it would just be a book of lies. In hindsight, i learned something about myself. Nobody judges me more harshly than i judge myself and i think that’s why my words can make me seem so shitty. It’s because that’s how i felt about myself when i was writing them.